Oh Insensibles. A movie I saw the trailer for ages ago and tried really hard to find, but failed at the time. I was into occult horror movies at the time. Alas, it was not meant to be. Until now.
Set in Catalonia, Painless weaves two stories: in one, starting during the Spanish Civil War and running through to the ’60s, an asylum attempts to rehabilitate children who feel no pain, by teaching them physical suffering. For some reason these kids habitually injure themselves and others and this is why they need to be locked up in solitary. Hm… In the second, in the present time, a brilliant neurosurgeon who needs a bone marrow transplant, discovers this dark past when he searches for his biological parents.
I finally got a chance to watch it the other night and was mostly disappointed. There wasn’t a lot of supernatural or occult elements in it and they never really did show up either. I’m not sure why it was such a big deal those kids couldn’t feel any pain. It’s a disease that is real and as far as I know, people who have it don’t light themselves on fire or eat their own flesh on purpose. They just have to be careful to not injure themselves and unwittingly die from blood loss or something. The plot mostly follows one of the kids, probably because he’s the most hardcore of all (dude cuts a nurse’s Achilles tendon for slapping him around).
One of the writers of Insensibles is behind Rec (not bad!) and Rec 3 (kinda bad), but I’m not sure who to place the blame on for the pacing of this flick. You could have easily cut out twenty minutes before Berkano (nurse slashing kid experiences a rebirth as a torturer) shows up.
I don’t want to say it was closer to Hellboy than say, Ninth Gate, but… it could easily have been a BPRD case, what with the Nazis and the super creepy torturer guy who can’t feel pain and lives in the ruble of an old prison. In that sense, it wasn’t bad. The Berkano dude was pretty creepy (he was also in Snowpiercer) and I really wish we had gotten to that point sooner and given him more screen time.
Spoilers after the break.
The point the movie largely fails for me is the ending. Such a cop-out. It doesn’t really resolve anything, and whatever meaningful implication they tried to point out by showing the protagonist’s baby isn’t enough to save it. So the non-pain feeling guy had a kid and that kid grew up to be a great surgeon but as far as I can see, he fails pain normally and his eyes are fine. So his kid will also…be a surgeon? I don’t know and really, who cares. Bit of a letdown for what could have been pretty interesting.
That aside, the movie had some solid directing and acting, though no real outstanding performances. I can’t stay mad it, but I probably wouldn’t watch it again.
2.5 out of 5 creepy bald fuckers